Part two, section 19

Wide Sargasso Sea pages 107 - 112: Horses ready to ride ... A crying child

Synopsis of part two, section 19

Rochester and Antoinette are ready to ride down from Granbois to the sea. As in the previous section, Rochester's narrative is confused and contradictory. Part of him is hard and revengeful. He denies any feelings but hatred for Antoinette and refuses to acknowledge the feelings of the young boy who wishes to accompany him. Yet, at other levels of his consciousness, he responds to the landscape, to Antoinette's stories of its history and her feelings for him. He finally articulates a sense that truth and value reside in this place and these relationships. But at another level, he feels that they remain hidden from him and, despite his use of force, will not be disclosed.

Commentary on part two, section 19

  • The early Spanish colonisers were perhaps known as Jack Spaniards.
  • A green flash or line seen at sunset is referred to as the Emerald drop.
  • A solitaire is a species of thrush with a lovely song.
  • The Saints and Marie Gallant are islands between Dominica and Guadaloupe. The battle refers to a naval battle between England and France in 1782.
  • In between raids on Spanish ships, some pirates were known for their cruelty and debauchery.
  • These islands are in an earthquake area. The specific reference may be to the earthquake of 1692 which swallowed up the original capital of Jamaica, Port Royal.
  • Legally, found treasure must be handed over to the authorities and not kept by the finder, who will only be given a proportion of its value.Mary Magdalene
  • Mary Magdalene is a biblical figure who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and found his empty tomb. The reference to weeping refers to a traditional connection often made between Mary Magdalene and the woman in the Gospel of Luke who was a prostitute. She wept and bathed the feet of Jesus and was forgiven for her sins. See: Luke 7:36-50, Luke 8:2.
  • Rochester's depiction of his wife as a ghost who will be treated as a memory he wishes to avoid illustrates the contrast between Antoinette's life in the West Indies and her future half-life at Thornfield Hall.


Investigating part two, section 19

  • Rochester's state of mind is very distressed
    • Make notes on how this shown in the writing of this section.
  • What has Rochester lost?
  • What does the incident with the nameless boy add to the narrative?


Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.